Khalifa University hosted a national workshop on nuclear research reactors in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at its Abu Dhabi campus from April 2nd to the 4th.
The workshop was intended to provide participants with a comprehensive overview of the applications of research reactors in education and training, materials testing as well as medical and industrial applications.
Research reactors are generally not used for power generation, but rather are made to provide a neutron source for research and various other applications, including education and training. They are smaller and simpler than power reactors, operate at lower temperatures and require far less fuel.
“Research reactors have been centers of innovation and productivity for nuclear science and technology for over 60 years,” says Dr. Philip Beeley, Khalifa University’s Professor of Practice and Program Chair, Nuclear Engineering. “They have spawned new developments in nuclear power, radioisotope production and nuclear medicine, neutron beam research and applications, and many, many other advancements.”
The workshop aims to provide education and training on research reactors as well as their applications towards: Neuron Activation Analysis, Radioisotope Production, Neutron Transmutation Doping of Si, Gem Coloration, Neutron Imaging, Neutron Diffraction, Small Angle Neutron Scattering, Neutron Reflectometry and other neutron scattering techniques.
Dr. Beeley continued, “Research reactors are extremely valuable training, research and technological tools, and it’s important that we harness their use as the UAE continues to develop its peaceful nuclear energy program. Cultivating our partnerships with international organizations like IAEA is a major part of establishing this technology here and achieving the goals set forth in the Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision.”
The workshop followed a meeting between H.E. Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, permanent ambassador for the UAE to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Khalifa University’s senior management and members of the Nuclear Engineering Program.
H.E. Ambassador Al Kaabi met with Khalifa University Executive Vice President, Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Khalifa University Provost Dr. Jay Noren, and Dr. Philip Beeley, the Chair for the Nuclear Engineering Program in order to discuss the creation of a Nuclear Research Center and to tour the Nuclear Engineering labs.
The discussions were focused on the future research activities required to support the UAE's Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) program and KU's engagement with Emirates Nuclear Corporation (ENEC) and the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) on research priorities, specifically, the nuclear capacity building roadmap work lead by ENEC and the development of a research framework within this roadmap.
“Our Nuclear Engineering program is a result of the need identified in Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision for the development of a peaceful nuclear energy program to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. Close partnerships with international organizations like the IAEA and local organizations like ENEC and FANR are vital to the development of our program and the development of nuclear energy in the UAE”, said Dr. Arif Al Hammadi.
Khalifa University currently offers a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering, with plans to develop undergraduate offerings in the near future.